Vigils scheduled to show solidarity with Pittsburgh

The Detroit News
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor hosted a vigil Sunday for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

Vigils are planned locally to help "process the horrific act of violence" that left 11 dead at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. 

MoreAt vigil, rabbi recounts synagogue shooting

A vigil is scheduled for Capitol Park in downtown Detroit for 6-7 p.m. Monday. 

It is being organized by Hazon Detroit, The Well, Repair the World: Detroit, ADL Michigan, Detroit City Moishe House, Detroit Jews for Justice, Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, NEXTGen Detroit and JCRC/AJC Detroit.

"Hazon's mission is to create a healthier and more... sustainable Jewish community, and a healthier and more sustainable world for all," Hazon Detroit wrote on its Facebook page. "While we know this vision remains beyond the horizon, we also know that the only way to get there is through elevating the level of love, the threads of connection, and the wellsprings of compassion that stitch us and this world together."

Officials released the names of all the 11 victims Sunday. The victims of synagogue shooting Saturday morning included a pair of brothers and a husband and wife. The oldest was 97. Six people were injured, including four officers.

Police say the suspected gunman, Robert Bowers, told police he wanted to “kill Jews.” The FBI said he was armed with an AR-15 rifle and three handguns.

Bowers faces federal and state charges and is due in court Monday.

At Michigan State University, the Hillel student organization is planning a vigil at 6:30 p.m. Monday in front of the Lester and Jewell Morris Hillel Jewish Student Center building, 360 Charles Street in East Lansing. 

"As a Jewish community nationally and globally, we are trying to process the horrific act of violence that took place yesterday, on Shabbat morning, at the Tree of Life synagogue," MSU Hillel said in a statement. "Our tradition teaches "Kol Yisroel Aravim Zeh Lazeh" — all Jews are responsible for one another. At this dark hour, we stand solemnly with the people of Pittsburgh."

At the University of Michigan, President Mark Schlissel and the board of regents also denounced the violence and vowed to support Jewish students in this difficult time.  

"There is simply no place in our society for violence, and violent acts motivated by religion and other identities — like this attack on a Jewish community in Pittsburgh — are despicable," they said in a statement. "Tolerance and respect for others are foundational values of our university and they will not be compromised."

Also on Monday, a teen-led vigil will be held at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.

Interfaith vigils will also be held Tuesday, Oct. 30 at Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Hills and Congregation Beth Shalom in Oak Park. Those events will be held at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively. 

A vigil was held on the UM Diag at 5 p.m. Sunday. 

'Turn every negative into a positive'

Also Sunday, members of the Imams Council of the Michigan Muslim Community Council lined the stage during an awards dinner to offer condolences to those killed and injured in the shooting at Tree of Life synagogue.

Jewish Ferndale also held a vigil Sunday with Rabbi Herschel Finman offering words of comfort and hope to more than 100 people outside the cultural center. 

"We have to turn every negative into a positive, and anytime a situation such as this occurs,  with all the negative repercussions, we have to find the inner strength and resolve to do good things," said Finman. "We resolve to do more good things, but our resolve should include getting others to do good things."

While there is concern for safety after the Pittsburgh shooting, Finman said they are taking precautions but reminding people "we don't pray in fortresses."

He said about a third of those at the vigil Sunday were not Jewish. 

"To me, this is supposed to be the status quo. This is one Earth with one people and the fact that it takes something like this ... I’m sorry we have to get together and show solidarity when something negative occurs," said Finman. "We are trying to open our doors to the community when there aren't tragedies." 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.